History The Stealth Express is the result of a co-operative effort between an Australian designer and a South African manufacturer; its concept was first floated in 2006 and eventually manufactured by Stealth Performance Products.
Statistics The Express is 5 meters long 70 centimeters wide and depending on what it is made from (Fiberglass or Carbon/Kevlar) its weight ranges from 29kg to 20kg. The size of the Express could be one reason it is a rare sight on Australian waters.
Features Like all Stealth products it features a cavernous center hatch to secure non water proof items during a ‘wet’ launch or during inclement weather. Other features include 4 rod holders a scuppered rear well, a rudder and is buoyancy compliant with SAMSA and international regulations. The hull shape facilitates surf launch's although the narrow bow means it is not as efficient in those circumstances as other Stealth products like the BFS. Its narrow entry bow however is efficient for offshore cruising which is the Express’s forte.
Impressions I have not has as much time as I would like in the saddle of this boat, But what little time I have had on the ‘uber’ ski has left me with a feeling of complete and utter bliss. I have seen recent writings describing this style of kayak as ‘solid as’ and I would concur with this feeling of being on the bridge wing of a super tanker master of all you survey. This is not the easiest kayak to maneuver as its long waterline is built for going in a straight line for a fair distance but once you take this into account swinging the big hull around becomes less of a chore. In the surf as mentioned before the finer bow means it tends to be a little on the damp side on the way out – nothing that can’t be fixed with a large sponge !!!!. Once you are out there the Express comes into its own – it moves along at a good pace sort of like the ground eating lope like a Kenyan long distance runner – but still able to make the water boil during a sprint. On the re-entry the Express surprised me with its surfing ability once again not the sort of Kayak I would consider a ‘serious’ surfer but sufficient enough to make it back to shore safely, the other thing to take into account is the fact that I am a complete and utter novice when it comes to the surf, so while lacking grace it got me home safely. Fishing from the Express was a bit of an eye opener as well – the ‘solid as’ comes into play here, I was a little concerned to how it would behave as I retrieved my rod from the center locker and began rigging/casting etc, again I had no grounds for concern as I found I had relaxed enough to let the Express handle the water while I just had to sit there and get on with fishing. The Express is rather noisy on the water exhibiting the dreaded hull slap but as I tend to regard that as nothing more than background ‘white’ noise it just blended in – less annoying than seagulls. All in all I am glad I took the impetuous step of buying my mid life crisis toy and look forward to harassing the local piscatorial population on a craft built for the wide blue yonder.